Adobe’s Photoshop Camera app for smartphones takes a few elements from the full Photoshop desktop program and flips them on their head to produce a fun and creative image editing experience for mobile artists. Or, in other words, if you were expecting this app to be Photoshop on your phone, you’ll likely be disappointed. On the other hand, if you want to try something different that harnesses what your phone excels at as a picture-taking and sharing device, Photoshop Camera is for you. Plus, Adobe Photoshop Camera is free to download so there’s no good reason not to give it a shot. We think you’ll like what you find with this clever imaging app that leans heavily into the world of photo filters, which Adobe dubs “lenses” in Photoshop Camera.
The first thing that takes some getting used to with Photoshop Camera is how selfie and portrait-focused it is. When you launch the app, it immediately turns your front facing “selfie” camera on in vertical, or portrait, orientation. That’s easy to override in the app by hitting the reverse icon in the upper right-hand corner of the interface to switch on the regular rear camera. (This, for me, was a relief. I’m not really a fan of selfies.) Once my iPhone’s main camera was on, I was off and running with this app. The first step is to pick a “lens” to produce a live filter effect on your image. There are quite a few lens options and new ones are added weekly, giving you plenty of instant editing tools.
By default, you start off with nine lenses but it’s easy to add more via the vast and growing lens library. Just tap on the “Add More” button and pick and choose. I quickly added Brandon Woelfel’s “Neon Pulse” lens, which mimics the distinctive, fairy-lit portrait look that made him a star on Instagram. Once you’ve chosen a particular lens, swipe left or swipe right for different variations on the effect. Dig deeper and you’ll find some additional controls, including several for portraits such as virtual bokeh and face relighting. Photoshop Camera is “AI-powered,” which means the app will suggest certain filters based on what object it determines you’re shooting.
There’s a lot to explore and while some lenses were not for me—I like Billy Eilish’s music but found no use for her animated Blohsh effect. Others I found highly addictive, particularly photographer Jaxson Pohlman’s Interstellar filter, which did a surprisingly good job of simulating astrophotography. In fact, most of the sky-oriented lenses were more appealing to me than the portrait filters, but maybe that’s just me.
Yes, photography purists will probably scoff at a lot of what Photoshop Camera has to offer but if you can put your prejudices aside and give this app a chance, you may find yourself turning to it again and again for eye-catching instant snaps with your phone. Self-portrait fanatics will, no doubt, have a field day with Adobe Photoshop Camera.